The differences between America and England

Posted on November 6, 2009 by yankeebean



My grandma is English – she’s a British war bride that fell for a strapping American soldier.  She moved to America back in the day and knew that it was going to be forever – basically she had metaphorical cojones…

I asked her once how long it took her to feel like she was American rather than English…

“Ten years,” she said.

And back in 2004, when I took to the skies, that seemed like a freakin’ LOOOOOONG time – BAD long, y’know?  Impossible long.  But now, five years in, it doesn’t seem so bad any more.

I think a big part of that is because I don’t compare America to England as much.  Aside from a small number of niche cravings (Chicago pizza, automatic transmissions, yadayadayada), America is America and England is England – bada bing bada boom (I feel like I’m in the mob whenever I use that phrase, my kingdom for a Brooklyn accent!)

I don’t crave tea as much when I’m in America, I hop in the car without inner-moaning about how nothing is walkable, I LOVE STARBUCKS and unabashedly go there for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious skinny latte without feeling guilty.

When I’m in England I make all my coffee at home and love it, I walk to the store and merrily (well, not exactly merrily) haul my groceries back to the flat up a big hill and then up 4 flights of stairs, I hang my washing out to dry without lamenting about our lack-o-tumble-dryer.

According to my awesome-Gram’s calculations, I’m half-way to feeling British.  I wonder if I’m on schedule…

I definitely feel like something has clicked in my head that helps me deal with being an expat shamerican.  My progress can be summed up by the quote of a wise sage, “Where ever you are, there you are.”

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Michele November 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I would like to learn more about your mum. She sounds wonderful. I also hope you will join our WWII War Brides Association and enjoy meeting many war brides in our group. We will be in St. Louis next Sept. for our next reunion. This past October we were in San Francisco. I hope to hear from you.

  2. Denise November 9, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Enjoyed this post and thanks for stopping by. I shall enjoy coming back. I think your granny was very brave. I remember seeing a documentary on British War Brides a few years back. I wish they would show it again sometime.

  3. Expat Mum November 9, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Just commented on this over at Michelloui’s and said – I’ve been here in the the US for almost 20 years and definitely don’t feel American. That’s not saying I don’t like it here, just that I haven’t become “not English”. I sound English and still do a lot of English things (much to the amusement of the Ball & Chain and kids.) When I get off the plane at Heathrow every year, I sort of breathe a sigh of not-quite relief that I can be “me” again. Very difficult to explain, especially things have moved on in the UK without me.

    • yankeebean November 9, 2009 at 6:25 pm

      Expat Mum, thanks for stopping by!! First of all I love the ‘ball&chain’ reference. Hahahaha!! :D

      I think I feel the same relief when I go back to the States but mixed with a slight … sadness? Is that the word I’m looking for? Glum? Anyway, with a slight cloud over my head BECAUSE America has move on without me.

      I love going back SO MUCH, but I also don’t get the humour as much as I used to (not to mention they don’t get mine all the time either). It’s a weird half and half feeling. Do you get that when you head back to the UK?

  4. Gill November 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I know how you feel adapting to the Canadian way of life from the British way of life. I still have to stop and think of the Canadian/British word for some things, and I have been here over 20 years now. Canada is home to us though, Britain is where we were born……

    Gill in Canada

    Popped by via Expat Mum’s blog

    • yankeebean November 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm


      I feel exactly the same way. Sometimes I’ll use some random slag for something and a friend will say ‘Is that an American thing?’.

      These days I usually reply ‘I have no idea’ because I genuinely can’t remember if it’s American, Yorkshire or just something I made up… :)

  5. Michelloui November 9, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Hi again yankeebean! As I mentioned in my previous comment, your post inspired me. I’ve written a post about my take on all this:

    Hope you’re ok with the link back and mention, if not, let me know and I’ll edit accordingly! :)

  6. Michelloui November 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Hmmm. By Grandma’s calculations I should feel British twice over! But I don’t. I wonder if it is easier to become American than British (or any other nationality?). I can feel a future blog post coming on… ;)

  7. peacefulyorkshire November 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Yankeebean,
    I have been looking back at our progress this year with adjusting to life in the Uk. I was reading some of our old posts.
    Do remember this one?
    This was the turning point where me made the decision ‘to activate’ to make some big changes!

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